Announcements: Microsoft Exchange/SharePoint/OCS Online
Microsoft made several important announcements on March 3rd concerning its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS):
- BPOS will move from U.S.-only to worldwide availability starting in April, with worldwide trials available immediately.
- This is good news for customers wishing to try BPOS located in countries of availability, namely (in addition to the U.S.): Canada, U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Japan, Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
- To support this expansion, Microsoft has expanded its data centers, opening primary data centers in Dublin and Singapore, and secondary data centers (for geo redundancy) in Amsterdam and Hong Kong.
- The long-awaited Office Communications Online will launch in April. This includes IM, presence, address book search, group IM, distribution list expansion, file transfer, and 1:1 audio and video.
- A deskless worker version of BPOS is being launched. This provides browser-online (rather than rich client) access to Exchange and SharePoint, and costs $3/user/month.
These moves will serve to open the floodgates to customers wishing to migrate from on-premises to Microsoft-hosted messaging and collaboration, and expands Microsofts offering with instant messaging, presence, and peer-to-peer A/V conferencing. For many customers Office Communications Online will represent their first exposure to group chat (née Parlano).
We expect Exchange Online to lead the adoption curve, and the move to open overseas markets will be a game-changer in many of these markets that have struggled with the costs of on-premises messaging solutions. ... David Sengupta